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Ozone in Indoor Air Cleaners: Sorting Out the Claims; Ensuring Safe Products


ATLANTA, GA -- 04/14/2005 -- A veritable thunderstorm of controversy has erupted between Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, and several makers of ionizing indoor air cleaners. This uproar derives from an article in the May 2005 Consumer Reports issue that raises concerns about the safety and effectiveness of air cleaners which emit ozone.

“Ozone emissions have the benefit of creating a fresh, clean smell like that after a spring thundershower; however, inhaling even small amounts of ozone, especially at close quarters, can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms and damage the lungs. At issue is whether the amount of ozone being emitted is enough to put consumers at risk for health problems,” said Marilyn S. Black, PhD, chairman and chief scientist of Air Quality Sciences, Inc. (AQS).

Emissions from air cleaners are not federally regulated, and there is debate as to what is a safe level of indoor exposure to ozone. This fall, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will issue its recommendations based on a review of scientific literature. Presently, manufacturers use the same threshold (50 parts per billion [ppb] ozone exposure over eight hours) in industry tests as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses for medical devices. The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) in the US and Germany’s Blue Angel program have a more stringent requirement of 40 ppb as required for their indoor product labeling programs.

AQS can help manufacturers navigate this storm and create confidence among consumers through its product evaluation testing program. This program features environmental chamber technology, the most reliable and scientifically proven way to test for product emissions, including ozone and particles. This technology allows a product to produce emissions similar to the way the product would emit in a home or office. The collected data is mathematically modeled to determine exposure concentrations resulting from product emissions in many different indoor environments.

“This modeling allows the product use to be evaluated for health, irritation and odor concerns for a wide range of indoor environments, and because it is conducted using standard industry protocols, manufacturers and consumers can have confidence in the results,” Dr. Black said.

Air Quality Sciences, Inc. is a fully integrated indoor air quality (IAQ) company that provides solutions to create healthy indoor environments and avoid potentially dangerous indoor pollution. As the only IAQ firm with internal labs that are both ISO 9001:2000 registered and AIHA EMLAP accredited, AQS sets the standard for effective diagnoses and solutions. AQS also is a test laboratory for both the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and the Blue Angel Labeling programs, which provide independent, third party certification for low-emitting products used indoors. To learn more about AQS, Blue Angel and GREENGUARD, visit, or, respectively.


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